In praise of reading and writing
Arthur Mutambara, the Former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe who is currently President of the African News Agency, gave a rousing motivational speech to a packed hall of students telling them that the key to Africa's future depends on them.
His message was that combining power with ideas, academic skills and a wellrounded social life and then the implementation of those ideas is the only way forward for African countries. He was speaking on 28 September about the book, “In Search of the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream: An Autobiography of Thought Leadership”. The book is the first in a trilogy that documents his thoughts and ideas from 1983 until the present as his generation tried to be the change they wished to see in Zimbabwe.
He said that the key to change in Africa was the development of a writing culture.
“Every successful civilisation has writers and readers,” he said. “Africans must write. Documentation is divine.”
“With hard work and the support from the community you can succeed against all odds,” he said. “I hope the leaders of the community are
“I hope the leaders of the community are here,” he said. He warned them to not get so involved with radical transformation that they fall down in their academic work, such as when an SRC president or member gets suplementary results. “Oh, shame on you! You don’t impress us,” he said to laughter and applause.
We need both academic excellence and social ability, he said, meaning that you must not concentrate only on books, but be an active member of your community, play sports and go to church. He encouraged them to be at the top of the class and to combine academic excellence and social ability. He encouraged students to develop a longterm plan and then prioritize so as to implement the plant. Strategy is important, he said, but execution is more important. “Prioritize and have vision.”
He spoke about what he calls thought leadership, in which ideas influence the way forward. Leadership is the impact of power, but combining power and ideas “will make the world a better place”. Trouble happens when those with power have no ideas and those with ideas have no power.
“What we are saying why don’t we put up some ideas with power,” he said.
Speaking about Zimbabwe, he said equality had been elusive.
“We need peace, equality, freedom and inclusive democracy – these are the missing elements in Zimbabwe,” he said.
With hard work and the support from the community you can succeed against all odds.
Arthur Mutambara, the Former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.